Throw in a secret lab and a lot of conspiracy, and Angel’s going to need all of her brainpower—and maybe a brain smoothie or two as well—in order to get through it without falling apart. Will her relationship with Marcus survive as well? Will he start to appreciate Angel for who she really is?
Let me start with the cover, painted by Dan Dos Santos (follow this link if you want to see it properly), one of my favourite cover artists. This one is special. Even if I hadn’t heard anything about this book, this cover would have made me pick it immediately. It is the perfect mix of bad-ass and vulnerable in a completely unexpected scene (are there any other covers that feature a depressed punk-chick on a toilet in a grubby bathroom? Look at her shoes for heaven’s sake!). Dan Dos Santos won a silver medal fromSpectrum medals for his cover art for Diana Rowland’s My Life as a White Trash Zombie. This one is as good if not better.
What about the book itself? It is a sequel and as such I didn’t expect a lot of fireworks. I was wrong. How nice it is to be wrong from time to time! What I liked the best? Characters development of the main heroine – it was simply unique.
Firstly she develops a believable and quite moving relationship with her father. They got mad at each other every now and then but it is obvious they were trying to change and improve, appreciating all the time that they are still family.It addted the humane depth to Angel’s character – I was so pleased she wasn’t made another orphan girl, so conveniently deprived of any parents or siblings, left to rely on friends and boyfriends!
Speaking about boyfriends…Marcus Ivanov, the zombie cop was behaving in an outrageous manner and finally Angel started questioning where they stand. Let me just say she was perfectly right! I really enjoy the fact that somebody dared to show in an UF novel that the real relationship is about something more than just fancying a handsome boy or girl or going to bed and having good sex! Angel really scored a lot of points breaking up temporarily with Marcus (not saying more, it is already a bit spoilerish) and asserting herself when faced with his posh family and acquaintance.She may be an uneducated chick but she is sure as hell clever and should be in the CSI department instead of being the skullcracker of the morgue.
Now a bit about the baddies. Ed Quinn the zombie serial killer appears again and secret zombie factions make this book full of both a great action adventure and a great character development story because no, Ed is not a straightforward baddie and not every zombie is good either. For example one Pietro Ivanov a badass zombie mobster. I found him quite fascinating but he is a shadowy character. He is very eager to invest in a new research to find the protein zombies’s parasite need to survive to create new “fake brains” to control the numbers of brains in his zombie faction.
Overall I liked Rowland’s innovative take on zombies and her explanation why brains keep them from rotting, give them superhuman abilities, and a longer life. Further on, the creation process of a new zombie was rather..ehem…bloody interesting. The mothering aspect and the population control was a very clever addition and certainly nothing I expected or predicted so full points for world building.
What I didn’t like
The mystery seemed to be a little over the top but it was still a fun ride. I would be even more happy with this one if more baddies were so nicely three-dimensional as poor Ed; unfortunately it was not the case. There were also some threads unfinished and some themes I would really like to know more about and now I have to wait for another installment.
It is perhaps not a perfect novel but it remains a well-told story following the trials and tribulations of a young woman trying to get a grip on her life. Plus zombies. Normally I don’t like them in my fantasy but for Angel and her likes I am more than willing to make an exception.
What’s more I am happy to tell you that Mrs. Rowland’s writing technique is improving dramatically, especially if you compare it to some of her earlier “…of a demon” novels. I am most definitely eager to read the next book in the series!
BTW my review of the first part can be found here.